Can Leopard Geckos Eat Nightcrawlers? (What You Need to Know)

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Leopard geckos are known for their love of worms, so much so that they are usually offered as treats by many. But can these geckos eat nightcrawlers? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

So can you feed your leopard gecko nightcrawlers? 

Leopard Geckos can eat Nightcrawlers. Nightcrawlers contain many nutrients that leopard geckos need. They are an excellent way to bring variety to your gecko’s diet. The only issue is that not all leopard geckos like nightcrawlers, especially those that are picky eaters. 

Leopard geckos and nightcrawlers 

As long as your leopard gecko loves nightcrawlers, they can eat them. These worms are rich in protein, fat, and water, all of which your leopard gecko needs. So it’s a good idea to offer them to your gecko as a treat once in a while and see how they react. As long as you do it in moderation, you don’t need to worry about your leopard gecko gaining weight.

To increase the nutritional value of nightcrawlers, you can dust them with calcium and multivitamin before feeding them to your gecko. All you have to do is mix ¼ teaspoon of multivitamin and calcium powder in a bag and add the nightcrawlers inside. This is a good way to ensure that the nightcrawlers are completely covered in the powder. It should be done at most 5 minutes before feeding the bugs to your gecko. 

Ultimately, this is a great way to ensure your gecko gets all the nutrients they need, particularly vitamin D. Since leopard geckos in captivity don’t get as much sunlight as those in the wild, you have to work extra hard to ensure they get access to this vitamin.

Can you gut load nightcrawlers for leopard geckos?

Yes, you can gut load nightcrawlers for your leopard gecko. Just ensure that you feed the nightcrawlers with nutritious food at least 24 hours before feeding them to your gecko. Always opt for food with high calcium to phosphorus ratio, though. 

Where should you source the nightcrawlers you feed your leopard gecko?

While it is tempting to feed your leopard gecko nightcrawlers that you caught in your backyard, it is a bad idea. Such worms may have been sprayed with insecticides or pesticides that are harmful to your gecko. Beyond that, they may carry parasites that can make your leopard gecko sick and even kill them.

As such, you should always get your nightcrawlers from reputable stores that sell them for reptile use. Don’t even trust bait stores – some of them sell nightcrawlers with pesticides or other chemicals. Always opt for reputable stores no matter what type of bugs you’re buying for your leopard geckos. 

Are nightcrawlers the same as red wigglers? Can leopard geckos eat red wigglers?

While both of them are commonly referred to as earthworms, nightcrawlers and red wigglers are not the same. Also known as red worms, the latter are redder and more slender than nightcrawlers. Also, they thrive in worm bins and prefer to eat manure/decayed matter, making them suitable for vermicomposting.

While nightcrawlers can also eat decayed matter, they are usually found in soil. Alternatively, they can be kept on a farm and fed fruit/vegetable skins and mash so that they can later be sold as feeder insects or fish bait. Also, their casing is full of nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and nitrogen. Ultimately, this is what makes them good food for leopard geckos. 

On the other hand, red worms aren’t as nutritious and will be rejected by many geckos. If there’s one thing that you have to keep in mind about these two worms, they’re not the only types of earthworms out there. And there’s one thing they all have in common – they release a yellow liquid when stressed called coelomic fluid. This can make predators like leopard geckos unwilling to eat them.

What other worms can leopard geckos eat?

Apart from nightcrawlers, there are several other worms that leopard geckos can eat. These include:

● Mealworms – besides crickets, these are the most popular leopard gecko food. In fact, many leopard geckos feed on a mixture of mealworms and crickets only. These worms are great for your gecko because they are nutritious, low in fat, and don’t bite, move, or emit strong odors

● Waxworms – these high-fat worms are a great treat for leopard geckos. But they should be offered in moderation – overconsumption can lead to obesity

● Butterworms – these worms have a higher fat content than all others. As such, they can easily lead to weight gain and addiction. They should therefore be offered in moderation

● Silkworms – these worms have a good amount of protein and are low in fat, making them great for leopard geckos

● Hornworms have a high moisture content and little protein and fat. As such, they are easy to digest and are great for dehydrated/sick leopard geckos

● Grub worms – as long as the worm is not wider than your gecko’s throat, they can eat it

Calci worms are rich in fat, protein, and calcium and should only be offered to leopard geckos a couple of times a week. Keep in mind that some geckos don’t like them and will outright reject them, though. Also, they are expensive and can be hard to find

● Buffalo worms are the larval stage of a certain species of darkling beetle. Measuring 0.5 to 1 cm long, these worms are small and are usually only fed to juvenile leopard geckos. They are also soft, don’t bite, and are easy to digest. Beyond that, they have a high protein and fa content 

Final thoughts 

If you have been thinking of introducing nightcrawlers into your leopard gecko’s diet, don’t hesitate. These worms are nutritious and could be just the variety your gecko needs. Moreover, they can easily be dusted and used for gut loading. As long as you get nightcrawlers from a reputable supplier and offer them in moderation, you have nothing to worry about. 

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